John Hanson Savings & Loan, with 10 branches in suburban Maryland, has become the first major savings and loan in the Washington area to raise its passbook savings account interest rate to 7 1/2 percent, the highest for any savings institution.

Glen Burnie Savings & Loan Association, with only one office and $18 million in assets, has been paying 7 1/2 percent on passbook accounts since September 1979, but does not advertise and offers only passbook accounts, no certificates of deposit or checking accounts. John Hanson, on the other hand, does offer NOW accounts.

The compounded annual yield on John Hanson's passbook accounts amounts to 7.72 percent, with no time restrictions and no withdrawal penalties like those built into certificates of deposit. This rate is 2 full percentage points above the 5 1/2 percent that savings and loans chartered or insured by the federal government are permitted to pay. John Hanson is a state-chartered S&L, insured by the Maryland Savings Share Insurance Corp., a private group, Institutions in the District and Virginia are federally chartered or insured, as are non-MSSIC S&Ls in Maryland.

About half of the approximately 125 savings and loans insured by the MSSIC now pay 7 percent on passbook accounts; the others pay between 6 percent and 7 percent. In the Washington area, those paying 7 percent include Government Services, Chevy Chase, Friendship, Twin Pines and Maryland Savings and Loan.

John Hanson has 40 percent of its deposits in passbook accounts, a considerably higher percentage than the federally chartered and insured institutions have.

John Hanson, with $137 million in assets, is situated in Forestville. It has branches in Bethesda, Forest Heights, Laurel, Prince Frederick, Riverdale, Rockville (2), Silver Spring and Lanham.